Senate hears updates on faculty hiring, NTE teaching, conduct policy

Senior vice president and provost Jonathan Wickert gave an update on the high-impact faculty hiring initiative at the Oct. 8 Faculty Senate meeting. President Steven Leath allocated one-third of new state appropriation dollars (about $1.5 million) for the initiative to support hiring tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Wickert said proposals were submitted by the deans and are under review. A total of 39 hires were requested, at a cost of about $2.5 million and cost-sharing (colleges, departments and extension and outreach) of another $2.6 million.

"I think I can probably cobble together some additional dollars so we can do our best to meet our high-priority needs," Wickert said.

A recommendation will be sent to the president in the next couple of weeks. Wickert said he hopes to get the hiring process under way quickly to fill the positions sooner, rather than later.

"It was great to see some very collaborative initiatives," Wickert said. "You're going to see us perhaps be able to do some multiple hires in certain areas and go a little deeper, and also put some hires in targeted areas to address high-enrollment needs in some of the departments."

NTE instruction

Wickert also shared the latest non-tenure eligible (NTE) teaching numbers. Percentages are based on the number of section credits (sections, multiplied by credits) taught by NTE faculty in the fall of 2012.

The latest summary, by college, shows most are at their own target goals. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has the lowest overall percentage (19.8), while the College of Human Sciences has the highest (39.6). Overall, 29.4 percent of teaching at Iowa State is by NTE faculty. The Faculty Handbook sets preferred limits of NTE instruction at 15 percent university-wide and 25 percent within departments.

"It's not a negative type of discussion," Wickert said. "We greatly value the work that's done by our non-tenure eligible faculty."

The report shows 29 of 60 departments with less than 25 percent NTE instruction. Five departments had no NTE instruction (veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine; entomology; educational leadership and policy studies; curriculum and instruction; and art and design), while political science (57.5) and veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine (52.6) exceeded 50 percent NTE instruction.

"It comes down to a balance," Wickert said. "This is a design problem, where we are trying to accomplish all of the things we want to accomplish on campus -- to teach all of the students and do so under the constraint of the dollars we have available."

Faculty conduct policy

Associate provost Dawn Bratsch-Prince presented a 10-year overview of the faculty conduct policy, which was approved and added to the Faculty Handbook (chapter 7, PDF) in 2002.

"In the slightly more than 10 years this conduct policy has been in place, I think it's proven to be an effective tool for maintaining a healthy work environment here at the university," Bratsch-Prince said. "It's absolutely grounded in peer review."

Conduct case summary, 2002-13
Total cases: 46 (one in progress)
Cases dismissed: 3 (two respondents resigned, one complaint withdrawn)
Minor sanctions: 17 (eight settlements prior to hearing, three with no violation found)
Major sanctions: 5 (four settlements prior to hearing)
Mediation: 5
No violation: 15